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Mayor Boris cool on London skyscrapers

If Ken Livingstone was the friend of modern architecture, preferably in sky-scraper form, his successor as London Mayor Boris Johnson has set out his stall as the friend of London's heritage buildings.

A newly published document setting out Johnson's planning policies is expected to make it harder for developers of tall structures to gain planning permission for their projects.

At the same time, a new Greater London Authority management framework aims to increase the protection of viewing corridors for four World Heritage sites in the capital.

"London benefits from 2,000 years of history and we will protect London's unique heritage which is part of the city's USP," deputy mayor Sir Simon Milton told a conference for London's Festival of Architecture this week.

Business leaders expressed concern at the new focus on heritage. "We must get the balance right and not simply preserve the city in aspic," said London First director of planning and development Judith Salomon.

Johnson's Planning for a Better London document seeks a more "consensual" approach to planning in London with the Mayor consulting more with the city's 33 boroughs.

Milton added that a new London Plan "would have to be developed from scratch" over four years.

The new document will set out a new emphasis on town centre development in outer London as opposed to inner city regeneration.

He added that rules demanding that all new developments have 20% of all power supplied by on-site renewables would be relaxed.

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